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Square for Retail Review: Features, Fees, and More

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Since Square launched in 2009, the credit card processing company has grown in popularity, especially with small and mid-sized businesses.

With the development of Square for Retail, brick-and-mortar retailers now have more tools to operate their businesses more efficiently.

Let us take a deeper look into this POS system and learn about its features, who it is ideal for, pricing, fees, pros and cons, and others.

Key Takeaways

  • Square for Retail is a popular POS system that helps brick-and-mortar companies conduct seamless business processes.
  • With its three plans, Square for Retail offers options for diverse business needs. The plans are Free, Plus (at $79/mo. per location) and Premium (with custom rates).
  • This system is ideal for businesses with multiple locations that need a solution that lets them run their day-to-day operation more easily.

What is Square for Retail?

Square for Retail is a point-of-sale solution offering built-in payment processing as well as software and hardware packages for brick-and-mortar businesses.

The system helps you manage your customers, business transactions, payments, invoicing and other processes and business tasks.

It also provides tools to manage and improve customer loyalty, marketing campaigns, and team management. Compatible hardware for the system includes iPad, iPhone, Square Stand, and Square Register.

VISIT SQUARE FOR RETAIL

Who Uses Square for Retail?

Square for Retail specifically tailors to brick-and-mortar businesses and supports small retailers. That said, its POS system can also be used by restaurants and bigger enterprises.

Typical users of the Square POS system include small and mid-sized retailers, non-profit organizations, freelancers and even large enterprises.

Features of Square for Retail

Square for Retail offers a range of features that retail businesses can benefit from. Here are the most popular tools your in-store and online business can capitalize on from opening to closing.

Inventory

Square for Retail Inventory simplifies your workflow with intuitive inventory through the following:

  • Inventory counting tool
  • Smart stock forecasts
  • Automatic purchase orders
  • Barcode labels
  • Multi-location stock management
  • Vendor management
  • Inventory categories
  • GTIN and/or SKU codes for easier inventory tracking and identification

With such inventory management tools, you can create purchase orders and manage your stocks from your Square Dashboard.

Online Selling

No matter where your business is, reaching your customers where they are is vital. Below are ways that Square for Retail helps you find and reach your target market:

  • In-store pickup or shipping
  • Smart website builder
  • Instagram integration
  • Automatic sync of orders, items and inventory for your in-store and online stores
  • Advanced eCommerce tools
  • eGift cards

The system provides an easy-to-use website builder called Square Online, a platform that covers your website, order fulfilment, customers, and other categories to help you showcase your products and brand identity.

Checkout

Another beneficial Square for Retail feature, Checkout lets you manage your online store with the following:

  • Customizable item grid
  • Barcode scanning
  • Cross-location returns
  • Quick adding of stocks from your POS
  • Customer profiles
  • Customer preview

With this feature, you can organize your items and functions into pages, enable quick barcode scanning, update your inventory and build customer relationships.

Reports

The Square for Retail system gives you the ability to create reports and make informed business decisions using your business data:

  • Sales reports
  • Vendor sales reports
  • Profit margin and cost of goods sold reports
  • Inventory by category reports

With these, you can easily determine how much inventory you are moving, what suppliers offer top-sellers, and view the types of sales giving you the most revenue.  

Team Management

Improve team management by giving your employees the tools they need, including the following:

  • Unlimited employee passcodes
  • Timecard reporting
  • Unlimited employee roles
  • Labour vs. sales reporting

These tools enable your team to clock in and out directly at the POS, assign various permissions to different roles in your store, forecast labour costs and adjust schedules.

Payments

Square for Retail makes the payments process easier and hassle-free for your customers and your business through the following:

  • Integrated and touch-free payments
  • Invoices
  • Data security (PCI) compliance
  • Next-business-day transfers

Use this feature to accomplish diverse tasks, including integrating all your sales in your POS, tracking payments in real-time, complying with required standards, and getting your money into your account the following business day.

Square for Retail Plans, Pricing and Fees

Square for Retail offers three plans that both new and established retail companies can use to improve their businesses and reach more customers.

Its Free plan is perfect for small retailers needing only the essential inventory tools. The Plus and Premium plans help larger or more established businesses expand or scale their operations.

Plans

Free

Cost: $0/mo.

Monthly fees: None

Processing rates:

  • In-person payments, all major credit cards – 2.65% per tap or insert
  • Per Interac chip & PIN or tap – 0.75% + 7¢
  • Invoices and online transactions – 2.9% + 30¢
  • Card on file and manually entered transactions – 3.4% + 15¢

The Free plan is for businesses just starting, whether in-person or online. This plan gives you a free Square Retail Point of Sale app, a free online store, basic inventory tools, and more. You can sell in person, online, or over the phone.

Plus

Cost: $79/mo. per location

Processing rates:

  • In-person payments, all major credit cards – 2.6% per tap or insert
  • Per Interac chip & PIN or tap – 0.75% + 7¢
  • Invoices and online transactions – 2.9% + 30¢
  • Card on file and manually entered transactions – 3.4% + 15¢

Expanding retail businesses can take advantage of the benefits provided by the Plus plan, including advanced inventory tools, advanced retail reports, barcode label printing, unlimited team management and advanced inventory tools.

Premium

Cost: Custom

Must meet eligibility requirements

Processing rate: Custom rate. Eligibility applies. 

The Premium plan is ideal for established businesses looking to scale and prefer a plan that fits their needs and comes with onboarding support. It includes the Plus plan features, custom pricing, Square Loyalty and account management.

VISIT SQUARE FOR RETAIL

Setting Up an Account

Setting up a Square for Retail account involves a straightforward process wherein the system guides you through the signup phase and account confirmation until the setup is complete.

When you sign up for Square for Retail, you will instantly receive a 30-day free trial of the Plus plan.

If you upgrade to Plus, you can use all existing features and setup included with the upgrade. If you opt not to subscribe, it will downgrade your plan to Free.

Square for Retail plans also allow you to pause your subscription and not get billed. You can pause and unpause your subscription at any time through your dashboard.

Pros and Cons of Square for Retail

Pros:

  • No hidden fees
  • Can be cancelled anytime
  • 30-day free trial of the Plus plan
  • Offers a free plan
  • No contracts nor fine print
  • No user manuals required
  • Flexible and customizable system
  • Integrated payment processing
  • Free online store
  • Competitive pricing

Cons:

  • Only uses Square’s payment processing
  • Not compatible with all business types
  • Limited inventory functions on the Free plan
  • Limited customer support
  • The system does not work on Android phones or tablets

Other Square Hardware and Software

Hardware

  • Square Terminal. Square Terminal is a credit card machine that takes payments and prints receipts through a securely encrypted system.
  • Square Virtual Terminal. The Square Virtual Terminal converts your computer into a credit card terminal, allowing you to accept and record payments on your computer.
  • Square Register. If you need a tool that lets you sell right out of the box, you will benefit from the seamless Square Register POS system. It enables you to accept payments by tapping, dipping, swiping or scanning.
  • Square Reader. Square Reader enables your business to accept chip cards and contactless payments and process credit card payments in less than two seconds.
  • Square Stand. The Square Stand device is a countertop point-of-sale system and a built-in card reader that turns your Apple iPad into a fully functional POS.

Software

  • Square Invoices. Invoicing software from Square for Retail helps your business request, track and manage your invoices from a single point. It provides free and paid plans that streamline the process.
  • Square Appointments. The process of booking, payments and other tasks becomes easier with Square Appointments, which provides merchants with simple scheduling and business tools.
  • Square Marketing. Engaging regular customers while acquiring new ones is doable with Square Marketing, which provides the tools that expand your reach through captivating email and text campaigns.
  • Square Customer Directory. Square provides CRM software that lets you access data to understand your customers better and engage with them more effectively.
  • Square Customer Loyalty Program. Show how much you appreciate your customers by building a loyalty program straight from your Square dashboard or website.

Alternatives to Square for Retail

Even though Square for Retail offers numerous features and benefits and is immensely well-known, there are other POS alternatives you may want to check and compare with the Square system.

Lightspeed Retail

Like Square for Retail, Lightspeed offers a fully-featured POS system for retailers. It aims to simplify tasks like inventory, payments, reporting and employee management.

It also comes with hardware that you can integrate into your system and includes barcode scanners and cash drawers.

Lightspeed annual plans include Lean (US$69/mo.), Standard (US$119/mo.), Advanced  (US$199/mo.) and Enterprise (custom rate).

The plan features include retail POS, registers, integrated payments, eCommerce, accounting, Omnichannel Loyalty, and advanced reporting.

eHopper

eHopper is a cloud-based POS system for retailers and restaurants that offers features and integrations that help small businesses run efficiently.

Its function is to speed up sales with payment processing, streamline business operations and sell and market online.

You can use eHopper to set up an online store, receive eCommerce orders, sync online orders with your point of sale and integrate your marketing campaigns.

eHopper plans include the free starter plan called Essential, OmniChannel ($29.99/mo.), and OmniChannel + Processing (custom).

Vend

Vend is another cloud-based point-of-sale software that enables retailers to manage and run their businesses more efficiently.

Whether the task involves managing inventory, accepting payments, tracking customers or running business analytics, Vend provides the tools retailers need to add value to their business.

Other features include dedicated advanced reporting and analytics, an account manager, cloud backup, API access, customized onboarding and customer support.

Vend offers three plans, namely, Lean (CA$89/mo), Standard (CA$159/mo), Advanced (CA$229/mo) and Enterprise (custom rates). It also offers a free trial.   

VISIT SQUARE

Conclusion

With all the Square for Retail benefits we have laid down, is this point-of-sale system the right one for your business?

If you are a small business owner selling physical items across multiple locations, Square for Retail can be a good solution for your POS needs.

With this POS system, you can manage the different business processes of all your locations in one place using numerous tools that enable you to run your operation more efficiently.

It can also be ideal if you want a robust, retail-specific POS solution that gives you access to advanced inventory and back-end features.

Using Square for Retail will help streamline your business so you can run your operations more competently. Take advantage of the tools to manage your business, from sales to inventory, payments, marketing campaigns, and team management.

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Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances. You can read his full author bio.

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